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Last week, as noted in my recent posts, I had scheduled three big events in a row. Two were work-related and involved intensive mental focus, social interaction, traveling 70+ miles and an overnight stay. The third involved careful execution of hand-lettering and artwork, as well as socially interacting with people, helping to clean up, etc.

Here’s what happened:

I did get through the first two days just fine. I had brought my special diet food with me and gave myself permission to take breaks and/or leave early, which I did in fact do. I felt it was a success because I was able to learn what I came there to learn, and make the important business connections. I saw my family and had a nice drive home. But oh, how happy was I to reach my own county! I can drive for about 30 minutes with no fatigue consequences, but 1 hour 30 minutes, different story. I have learned to hear when my body would like to get out of the car now please, and stopped just short of my neighborhood at a friends house, where we sat jawing on the porch in this perfect and crisp fall weather. Ahhh!

And then at home I ate something and went to bed early. Good thing too, as I had not slept so well when out of town.

So the third day. I was OK, no brain fog, but I felt uncentered and ungrounded. Tired but able to feed myself and complete the art project. I did notice the ungrounded feeling produced in me a shaky hand thus preventing smooth brush strokes, and so I sketched the lettering with a pencil. It turned out great and was quite fun. And then it was time to take this masterpiece to the event, oh right, getting dressed first, which I did and upon arrival was exhorted to complete other lettering tasks with certificates and signage. I didn’t do quite as well on these, but still a better use of my energy than moving furniture, eh.  I was pretty tired and felt subdued at the party itself. However it was great, and I stayed to help clean up which involved a lot of standing around and talking actually.

The Fourth day was Sunday. And Sunday is the day of rest in many traditions. In my case, the day of Consequences. Here we come, Post Exertional Malaise! Instead of doing my laundry, dishes, and any other household task that being away for two days might have uncovered, I slept as long as I could and spent most of the rest of the day on the couch reading, talking on phone or watching screen-based entertainments. No brain fog or headache, hooray! Just the “I can’t move, I hope that’s all right with you” sort of deal.

Today is the following Friday. I have been about 50-60% of “feeling great” all week. Yesterday was a bit better and today I am a bit lower. Tomorrow I have another event at which I will need to sustain mental focus and physical energy from 2-6pm. Glorble snop. It’s just this time of year, you know!

So I think I will make my November and December the easiest I can and think about these past two weeks when taking on commitments. And yes, fun holiday social engagements are indeed commitments! I will need to make this as simple as possible and if I can do without much travel, all the better.

Here’s what I know:

There are weeks coming up where I will have several consecutive big events. I must accept that the following week I will be 50-60% of “feeling great”. And that will be a week which will house a few more big events, including some major holidays. I will have to say no to things that I prefer to do. And I will have to communicate clearly so that I will keep my professional and personal relationships intact. I have an index card that tells me to forgive myself for having this illness. I will be looking at this card, internalizing the sentiment.

All this I must tell myself, so that I can live my life to my best ability, even at 50%.